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Why does the WGA hate freedom and democracy so much?
December 10, 2007 4:52 PM   Subscribe

On December 7th, talks between the Writer's Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke down. From AMPTP.com: "We are heartbroken to report that despite our best efforts, including sending them a muffin basket, making them a mix CD, and standing outside their window with a boombox blasting Peter Gabriel songs, our talks with the WGA have broken down."
posted by Tehanu (48 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Six out of 10 non-Judd Apatow movies never recoup their original investment.

Haha...those silly writers.
posted by dhammond at 4:57 PM on December 10, 2007


In a show of solidarity with the writers, I am refusing to read or write until the strike is over.
posted by mullingitover at 4:58 PM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Holy crap that's the real logo!
posted by Partial Law at 5:01 PM on December 10, 2007 [6 favorites]


Why does the WGA hate freedom and democracy so much? It's unclear. Big corporations have given the world electricity, affordable cornmeal, and "Two and a Half Men." What have unions ever given us? Answer: Communism and a disgustingly high minimum wage.

I lawl'ed
posted by eyeballkid at 5:04 PM on December 10, 2007


Funny, but they're going to get sued.
posted by empath at 5:10 PM on December 10, 2007


Yeah, that's the real logo all right. "It needs to be corporate, but jaunty. But not too jaunty!"
posted by unSane at 5:11 PM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can somebody please summarize this? What does it all mean?
posted by iamkimiam at 5:14 PM on December 10, 2007


Holy crap that's the real logo!

But their motto's even worse:"Our Thinking is as Creative as Our Logo!"
posted by vhsiv at 5:15 PM on December 10, 2007


Oh, and love how all the letters are upright in the logo...except for the "P" for producers. That one's slightly off its rocker.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:15 PM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


How did this get written?

HYPOCRITES!!!!
posted by DU at 5:15 PM on December 10, 2007


"Fox Unveils "Are You Stronger Than a Retard?"

Not only is that funny, but I hate to admit that I would watch that show.

I support the writers, but I think this will not work out for them in the long run. The last time a strike went on for a protracted period of time, FOX essentially invented reality TV with Cops and America's Most Wanted. The writers simply have more to lose here.
posted by dhammond at 5:17 PM on December 10, 2007


They should keep their power by refusing to use it? Deep.
posted by DU at 5:22 PM on December 10, 2007


Well, the spoof website is already unresponsive, I'm only sorry I didn't check to see it was available myself.
posted by mzurer at 5:28 PM on December 10, 2007


Yes, that's exactly what I said, DU.
posted by dhammond at 5:28 PM on December 10, 2007


I almost flagged this post as offensive/sexism/racism/antisemitic/antisemantic until I noticed the "satire" tag. How many times do I have to keep saying this?!? SARCASM DOES NOT WORK UNMARKED ON THE WRITTEN PAGE AND THERE IS NO HTML SARCASM TAG.

Now the satire of the amptp.com site itself is tipped off by the 'imperfect' logo (that last P isn't lookin' too secure) and the jokey slogan (in Comic Sans! The font of choice for clueless management!), enough that I got the joke, I'm sure Cool Papa Bell got the joke, even SDBD and the dear departed EB probably got the joke. But on the Front Page... not much to 'get', joke-wise.

For genuinely funny strike-oriented humor, I loudly recommend the Late Night Writers On Strike Blog. All written by Dave's actual writers, yet almost totally Top Ten-free! They even make fun of themselves and their side with such things as their "Speechless" video with a performer who you know ain't gonna stay Speechless. Good stuff.

I could probably get away with self-linking to my msnbc.com article bout the Strike and Late Night TV, but the editors cut the funny stuff out to make it newsier, except for a couple of cheap shots at Carson Daly, who everyone, management and labor, hates equally. So self-linking that would really be stretching the limits, even for a self-proclaimed linkwhore like me.
posted by wendell at 5:30 PM on December 10, 2007


Basically, what's been happening is that the AMPTP, which for some reason is permitted to negotiate on behalf of six gigantic corporations without being investigated for collusion, has been stonewalling the writers while performing a little song-and-dance so that their PR wing can attempt to frame the writers as -- depending on the day -- uncooperative, unrealistic, naive, communist, or simply being led astray by their Guild leadership. Their latest move was to issue a series of ultimatums ("We will not negotiate until you remove X Y and Z from the table...X Y and Z being several of the important proposals that the writers were at the table to negotiate) and then walk away, blaming the writers for intransigence.
What's really interesting is that both the writers and the producers are putting the three-year cost of their proposals in the $130-150 million range. In short, peanuts. Clearly, the producers would not be prolonging this in order to shave another $20 million off of $130 mil (remember -- that $130 million is shared across ALL the studios and networks). Therefore it's pretty clear that the writers are correct: This is a battle for the future of creative types in the entertainment business. The AMPTP would like to use the inevitable migration of entertainment distribution to new media platforms to essentially destroy the unions (WGA, DGA, SAG, and IATSE -- oh, and ASCAP too, I guess) by depriving them of revenue streams that paid their pension & health. They want to transform the creative community into temp workers, basically. This seems grossly shortsighted to me, and in any case is doomed to failure because the writers understand what's at stake.
I also believe that the strike is hurting the producers a lot. They didn't count on running out of shows so fast, or advertisers demanding refunds, or the DGA refusing to negotiate, or the public supporting the writers so overwhelmingly. Moreover, it appears that some of the more reasonable corporations are being held hostage by the hard-liners (since the AMPTP requires unanimity before it makes any deals, one hard-ass CEO can derail the talks for all of them) So while it may be a long strike, there's also a good chance we'll see the AMPTP back at the table in January with the "real" proposal that, to date, they have not yet put on the table.
I doubt that'll fit in a nutshell, but it's the best I could do.
posted by haricotvert at 5:35 PM on December 10, 2007 [18 favorites]


Yawn. This strike has totally jumped the shark.
posted by phaedon at 5:37 PM on December 10, 2007


If it has jumped the shark, I blame network notes. But I have to say that, as someone whose livelihood depends on the outcome, I'm kind of riveted.
posted by haricotvert at 5:44 PM on December 10, 2007


empath writes "Funny, but they're going to get sued."

Nah. It's satire. It would be a very difficult case to win.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:46 PM on December 10, 2007


{Written before I noticed the 'Satire' tag}
What is this disagreement you have with the Writers Guild of America? It boils down to a difference of opinion. They want us to pay them for their work, which would literally[1] bankrupt Hollywood and prevent us from creating these movies and television shows. We, on the other hand, want to keep making movies and television shows, so that people can be happy, and violent crime will fall.

I am convinced that you are correct when you say the writers' demands are unreasonable. I don't even have to look at the actual math behind this claim, because I trust you. But what did you offer them instead? We offered them a chance to be a part of what we call "The New Economic Partnership."
Seriously, they need to cut back on the Kool-Aid or the cocaine or whatever the fuck they're imbibing and get some real PR, because their copy is both unfunny and insincere.

'Literally bankrupt Hollywood'? LOL. Anybody paying any serious attention to this debate knows that the writers only get 0.03% of any media sales, a deal that was cut more than 20 years ago, before even VHS had really taken off. The Brits have had a better deal in place about as long.
posted by vhsiv at 5:51 PM on December 10, 2007


How have I lived so long without you, "organazis"? From now on, you are in every sentence I say. After that one. And this one.
posted by DU at 5:54 PM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


{Written before I noticed the 'Satire' tag}

And yet you posted it?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:56 PM on December 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


The falsely maligned home video residual formula is not a discounted formula. On a standard 1 million unit sale of a DVD, a writer garners at least an additional $64,800 beyond initial compensation (on 5 million units at least $324,000; on 10 million units $648,000, etc.).

And, as soon as upcoming Federal intellectual property laws pass Congress and making the purchase of every DVD we release legally mandated, that same writer will garner an additional $19,671,125,853,600 on 303,566,757 units!

Our portion is irrelevant. Look at those spoiled writers, contracting us out of houses and homes!
posted by Samizdata at 6:03 PM on December 10, 2007


Holy crap that's the real logo!

Yeah, that was the best part. That and when they pretend to think Nick Counter is Nick Carter.

I should add: The "just for fun" link may be NSFW! Sorry, I didn't realize at first.
posted by Tehanu at 6:05 PM on December 10, 2007


No, the Writers' Union is not going to "literally bankrupt Hollywood", which is actually a shame because the collapse of the Big 6 would open up incredible opportunities for hundreds of entrepreneurs and creators to do great things that can't be done now.
posted by wendell at 6:05 PM on December 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


wendell writes "I could probably get away with self-linking to my msnbc.com article bout the Strike and Late Night TV, but the editors cut the funny stuff out to make it newsier, except for a couple of cheap shots at Carson Daly, who everyone, management and labor, hates equally."

Hey, thanks for posting that. I wasn't aware that Carson had started production again. I understand his reasons, but you don't cross a picket line - which, in a way, he didn't, since he's doing the show without writers. His show was always painfully unfunny, too, and the thought of him winging it isn't enticing. At least there's no scabs being hired to replace them. I find it somewhat satisfying that everyone hates him there.

So ... MSNBC, eh? Hmmm ... What's the story with Chris Jansing?

Oh, and why all the prison tabloid-style "documentaries?" I'm sure it's ratings. Is that somehow Dan Abrams' doing? But what happened to the old-style CNN, where the news goes all night with an anchor at a desk? Well, not even those guys do that anymore. But at least rerun some of the talk shows. The prison stuff is just embarrassing. It's like "Cops" in a prison with narration.

Sorry to derail, but since you're here and all ...
posted by krinklyfig at 6:08 PM on December 10, 2007


© AMPT to the motherfuckin' P
posted by Poolio at 6:10 PM on December 10, 2007


From the real site:

did you know ?
For the 2006/07 television season, 6 of the TOP 10 series were non-scripted programming.


"Oh yeah? Well, we don't need no stink'n writers ANYWAY. Blpppppt!"
posted by yeti at 6:23 PM on December 10, 2007


Wendell: "SARCASM DOES NOT WORK UNMARKED ON THE WRITTEN PAGE AND THERE IS NO HTML SARCASM TAG."

It does work.. er, uhm, wait a minute.

*ahem*

SARCASM DOES WORK ON THE INTERNET IF THE READER PRESUMES THAT EVERYTHING READ ON THE INTERNET IS LACED WITH SARCASM ON THE OUTSET, UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE.

In other words, all are acerbic until proven goody-goody.

That is all.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:32 PM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]



How many times do I have to keep saying this?!?


You can stop whenever you want.
posted by pompomtom at 6:37 PM on December 10, 2007


Actually, reality shows may not be literally scripted, but they're just as fake as other kinds of shows. There's an excellent piece on Screen Wipe that shows the raw footage obtained from a reality show's cameras can be reworked to tell nearly any story.

One of the things on the real AMPTP site they identify as a sticking point for the talks is the guild trying to expand jurisdiction to cover reality show workers. They try to spin this against the WGA, but to me it seems logical.
posted by JHarris at 6:38 PM on December 10, 2007


That was fantastic. Let's hope TV writers get in a fight with some other group of blowhards so we can have a collection of smart spoof sites.

Also, wasn't it obvious that the real AMPTP site wouldn't be making clever SAY ANTHING jokes? I got the invisible sarcasm beam before I clicked.
posted by Gucky at 6:44 PM on December 10, 2007


The nightly builds of Firefox 3 now support the sarcasm tag!
posted by birdherder at 6:46 PM on December 10, 2007


Come on. How could anyone get past the words "muffin basket", above the fold, without knowing it was sarcasm? After that it's over the top.
posted by rokusan at 6:52 PM on December 10, 2007


The other day I was listening to one of the online 'radio' stations I frequent, and let's just skip the long tirade about how silly it is to call a streaming audio feed a 'radio' station - I'm trying not to digress. I also will not mention the 'where' here, cuz that too would lead to digression.

The lass who was DJing was also chatting with us in the chatroom utilized to accompany the online radio station. While on the air, she typed an offensive phrase in the chatroom. This is a word she uses in her show all the time and generally not taken as offensive by her listeners due to context. The station (and shows on said station) essentially exist because of said chatroom and vice versa. I will not divulge here what she said, for that too may lead to digression.

The moderator of said chatroom banned her from posting in the chatroom during her radio show. This being the DJs first offense (and so far as I know the first time a DJ has been banned from chatting during her own radio show) the time of the ban would only last one hour, but her show would last for three. It was a live sort of thing, so she responded to the ban by silencing her own radio feed. She was still there. We just couldn't hear her. The silence suddenly became just as entertaining as the show had been. When would she speak up? Would she break her silence?

After several minutes, she potted her mic to review the sitch for those just joining, but essentially we were listening to 'dead air' for over a half hour, while presumably negotiations were going on behind the scenes to have the ban lifted. She'd pot her mic up again here and there to update us on the sitch, since she was unable to do so in the chatroom.

These negotiations, such as they were, ended abruptly, when reportedly the moderator that banned her in the first place then logged out of the chat and off the computer, making it literally impossible for anyone else to undo his ban. The other mods online claimed that due to the system utilized, only the mod who banned her would be able to undo it. They insisted their hands were tied, which sounded like a cop out but it's impossible to confirm or deny.

Before the hour was over, the DJ was ..shall we say.. persuaded (by forces I can only imagine) to calm down and continue broadcasting music. Play nice. Behave herself if she doesn't want to lose her timeslot. et cetera. The mods won.

Now, usage that word is a bannable offense. It can be said on her radio show, but not in the chatroom during her show, which makes absolutely no sense. Censorship is a bootiful thang.

Silence in media... isn't a win situation for anybody.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:56 PM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually if you go to the actual site, (http://www.amptp.org/) you'll see the "breaking news". Of course its not news, its spin. And not very clever spin. Not really a direct address of the statements of the WGA, but very straw man. I was going to quote, but as the words are on the page...

Really with that kinda spin, I smell BS
posted by MrLint at 6:56 PM on December 10, 2007


Decadent asshole politicians from both parties are upset about the strike because they’re losing exposure on important venues like The Colbert Report and Real Time With Bill Maher. Any day now they’ll step in and straighten things out out.
posted by Huplescat at 6:57 PM on December 10, 2007


Roger A. Trevanti Explains The AMPTP's New Proposal.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:08 PM on December 10, 2007


"Family Guy" is entirely improvised by a cast of extremely precocious illustrations.
That's when I knew it was fake. Everyone knows Family Guy is written by extremely precocious manatees.
posted by louie at 7:40 PM on December 10, 2007


I'm bummed that the quote about the muffin basket and mix CD attributed to AMPTP.com isn't really from them. I was sort of hoping that somebody might be taking a second to have a little fun - especially from an industry that's supposed to be a little...um....fun. I'm just tired enough right now that I bought it at first.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:55 PM on December 10, 2007


How many times do I have to keep saying this?!?
You can stop whenever you want.


I wish you would, in fact.
posted by grouse at 2:12 AM on December 11, 2007


. How many times do I have to keep saying this?!?

. You can stop whenever you want.

. I wish you would, in fact.


I appreciate it that you remind us over and over again that NOBODY can detect sarcasm online. If you weren't here to protect us I don't know what we would do.

If you were to take just one day off from reminding us that nobody can detect sarcasm on the internet, I fear for Western Civilization.
posted by Megafly at 12:28 PM on December 11, 2007


If you were to take just one day off from reminding us that nobody can detect sarcasm on the internet, I fear for Western Civilization.

Wait, really?
posted by turaho at 12:54 PM on December 11, 2007


I recommend writing the AMPTP (using the contact information on their actual site) and letting them know what you think of how they're dealing with this strike. I don't know that it will help any, but I felt better.
posted by Caduceus at 1:26 PM on December 11, 2007


<SARCASM>
Yeah I recommend we fans of writers just tell the AMPTP how we feel and what we think they should do for the writers because we all know they'll listen to us. I mean it's not they're a bunch of Grinches or something.
</SARCASM>
posted by ZachsMind at 3:45 PM on December 11, 2007


If you were to take just one day off from reminding us that nobody can detect sarcasm on the internet, I fear for Western Civilization.

Wait, really?


I don't get it.
posted by nax at 2:43 AM on December 12, 2007


The Negotiations Take Their Toll
BY STEVE YOUNG

The long, hard slog of negotiations is taking its toll on the AMPTP. Yesterday at dinner, a weary and embittered Nick Counter told his wife he wouldn’t meet with her again until she took the tuna casserole off the table.
7:59 am est


I'm sorry but that's just about the funniest thing I've read during the strike.
posted by Talez at 2:07 PM on December 12, 2007


The amptp.org domain was temporarily rented by a WGA member to host the spoof site. The time is up, so the content has been archived here.

In the meantime the AMPTP has set up a another website to voice their opinion about the WGA's decision to not allow writers to write for the upcoming awards shows: wewanttheawards.com. They don't seem to learn from their past mistakes: wewanttheawards.org.
posted by Tehanu at 8:44 PM on December 22, 2007


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